|Bookmark this page! |
Winter sports are typically played on ice or in the snow and are more frequently found in colder climates where snow and ice are abundant during the winter. However, there are several winter sports that can be played in warmer climates, thanks to controlled indoor facilities (such as hockey rinks) fake snow for cross-country and downhill skiing.
Competitive winter sports typically fall into one of several categories, including skating, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowmobiling, and team sports such as hockey or curling.
Skating has been a popular sport for hundreds of years. Competitive figure skating, as we see it in the Winter Olympics, first developed in the early 1800's. The modern style of figure skating was created during the late 1800's by Jackson Haines, who is today known as the "father of figure skating." There are several disciplines of figure skating, including the Olympic categories of singles, pairs, and ice dancing, which is performed by a paired man and woman but features more intricate footwork and fewer lifts than pairs skating. Other non-Olympic categories of figure skating include synchronized skating (with groups of 12-20 skaters), fours (teams of four skaters), theatre on ice (allows use of theatrical props and costuming and involves a plotline and distinct characters), and acrobatic skating, which involves circus tricks and gymnastics moves, all on ice.
The other major form of competitive skating is known as speed-skating. Speed skating differs from figure skating in that competitors race while wearing skates instead of performing an "ice dance." During the Winter Olympics, longer distances of speed skating are referred to as simply "speed skating" while the shorter races are labeled "short-track speed skating."
Skiing originated during the prehistoric era, with the earliest forms looking very similar to modern cross-country skiing. Originally, cross-country skiing was meant exclusively for traveling during the winter months, but as other forms of transportation became available, skiing transformed into a recreational sport. Quickly, new forms of skiing developed, including alpine skiing, Telemark skiing (alpine skiing with the binding only connected to the toe of the ski boot) ski-jumping, skate skiing and skijoring (skiing while being pulled by a dog, horse or motor vehicle).
Ice hockey is a winter sport in which players use a hockey stick to guide the hockey puck into a goal. Ice hockey is very similar to soccer.
There is a huge variety of winter sports ranging from competitive to recreational. Some are solo sports, and others involve teams. All winter sports provide wonderful recreational opportunities during the cold winter months.